Editor’s Response to Socialist Professor

I was reading the Duluth News Tribune the other day when I found this article here by Prof. Bemie Hughes. In it, he speaks so glowingly of socialism. He lambasts what he sees as the evils of capitalism an opines that our economic system (mixed as it is) doesn’t contain more socialistic components like the ever so enlightened European models.
Not wanting these false narratives to go unchallenged, the Editor-in-Chief (me) wrote this response to Prof. Hughes:

I will not deny my bewilderment on reading Prof. Bernie Hughes’ recent article, “Our Capitalist Conundrum Keeps us From Being Exceptional.” Here was a person, entrusted with the young minds of our nation, speaking glowingly about socialism. He decries corporations for their unfair wages and unregulated greed. Then he blames them, more or less, for our nation’s economic ups and downs in the past century.

It is amazing just how backwards he has it.

For starters, the mega corporations that Hughes’ decries are, often, one of the best real-world examples of socialism in action. The government and their bureaucratic cronies (the supposed representatives of “we” in socialism) regulate corporations under the auspices of being more fair. What almost invariably happens is that only the mega corporations and institutions can afford the expenses of compliance and the regulations intended to level the playing field actually clear it further of smaller corporations and small, family owned businesses. Why would Wal-mart support Obamacare? It knew it would weed out competition. Big Business is a byproduct of Big Government.

Now before I get labeled as a “corporate conservative” I should probably say that I am twenty-five years old, I have a wife and one year old son and I work as a part-time caregiver at a special-needs facility. And I have to say that it saddens me that an American could act as though there were a permanent economic caste system in this country. That the wealthy elites are up there on high, keeping the lower wrung low to feed their insatiable appetites for cash. This is a great narrative for socialist ideology. It just simply isn’t true. It was not true for the poor in the nineteen seventies, who are by and large comfortably in the middle class these days. It certainly was not true for my parents, who started out poor, and, God willing, it won’t be true for my family. But it very well may be true, and because of the very regulatory policies that Prof. Hughes’ favors.

Why, for instance, are wages so low? Perhaps the better question is, why is the cost of living so high? Again, government, the very agent of justice in a socialist system, can take the ultimate blame. The economy, whether socialists like it or not, is not static, it is fluid. This is because the economy is, in the end, just a ton of people trying to make life better for themselves and those they hold dear. Because the economy is fluid, people will wind their way around obstacles to continue to improve their lot in life. Thus, if a person sees his product prices artificially raised by taxes and regulation, and his wallet being hit, doesn’t make sense that this person would raise prices so that his product could keep the same profit margin? This has the final effect of diminishing the worth of a person’s wages because he needs more money to buy the same amount of stuff. Government control, control by the elite political class, which is what socialism really boils down to, is the reason the working man having a tough time of it these days. And if countries like Germany and Holland have found out anything, its that you pay for a false socialist narrative with permanent, double digit unemployment. That’s hardly exceptional…unless you add “-ly”…and “bad”.

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IRON RANGE DIGEST: JUNE 18, 2013

HEADLINES

U.S. TO MEET WITH TALIBAN AT GROUP’S NEW PUBLIC OFFICE
Ummmmm………why?
Source: duluthnewstribune.com

MN REP JIM ABELER (R ANOKA) SEEKS TO CHALLENGE AL FRANKEN IN 2014
Will metro creds help him?
Source: capitolchat.areavoices.com

HOUSE DEM SAYS OBAMACARE WILL ADVERSELY HIT HIS LESS WEALTHY ASSISTANTS IF CONGRESS HAS TO ABIDE BY THE NEW SYSTEM
I kid you not…..
Source: forbes.com

LOUISIANA STATE SENATOR (WHO HAPPENS TO BE BLACK) JUMPS FROM DEMS TO JOIN GOP
Lincoln is smiling.
Source: realclearpolitics.com

PRO ABORTION DEMOCRAT FLOORED BY REPORTER’S SIMPLE QUESTION ON LIFE
She couldn’t have made herself any clearer…abortion trumps all.
Source: lifenews.com

MICHELE BACHMANN MOT IMPRESSED BY EDWARD SNOWDEN: CALLS HIM A “TRAITOR.”
Does she have a point?
Source: startribune.com

COMMENTARY

MATTHEW FRANCK: SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, FUNDAMENTALLY AT ODDS
Source: thepublicdiscource.com

IRON RANGE DIGEST: JUNE 13, 2013

HEADLINES

EDWARD SNOWDEN SPILLS BEANS ON U.S. HACKING CHINESE TARGETS
Freedom fighter has become traitor.
Source: startribune.com

REP JOHN KLINE (R) MN: NEW BILL RETURNS SOME SCHOOL AUTHORITY TO STATES
Source: minnesota.publicradio.org

WISCONSIN SENATE PASSES BILL REQUIRING WOMEN GET ULTRASOUND BEFORE ABORTION
Cheese heads going strong.
Source: duluthnewstribune.com

CNN TALKS HILARY CLINTON’S TWITTER ACCOUNT HARDLY MENTIONS ACCUSATIONS ABOUT HER STATE DEPARTMENT
Tweet that.
Source: newsbusters.org

COMMENTARY

DANIEL KESSLER: OBAMACARE IS RAISING INSURANCE COSTS
Not even liberal states are safe.
Source: online.wsj.com

JOHN COONEY: MINNESOTA LEGISLATURE: EXCESSIVE TAXING AND SPENDNG AND OVERREACH
Duh…
Source: twincities.com

ROBERT OSCAR LOPEZ: LESSONS FROM FRANCE ON THE MYTHS OF GAY MARRIAGE
Source: thepublicdiscource.com

10 AWESOME FOOD TRUCKS TO CHECK OUT NEXT TIME YOU ARE IN ST. PAUL
Politics is hungry work.
Source: twincities.com

RESPONSE TO TIM DAGGETT’S COMMENTARY: IS AMERICA FALLING AWAY FROM ITS FOUNDING PRINCIPLES, OR INTO THEM?
ORIGINAL ARTICLE FOUND IN JUNE 11 ISSUE
Response by Jacob Giese

I would first like to open this response by saying that Mr. Daggett is a good friend of mine and that I respect him a great deal as a thinker. I would also like to say that his constant self effacement, as evidenced in the article that I am responding to, hides an intellect and love of thought and thoughtful things that one seldom sees in the world today. As to the article in question, I feel that while well intentioned, includes a very specific error that needs to be cross examined.

The most glaring hole in the commentary is how my friend uses the word “liberty.” That is, he takes the word by its most broad and flexible meaning; what I would call a “progressive/libertarian” meaning. This meaning puts all weight in the letter of the law, but none in the spirit of the law; a small but important point. Liberty, so defined in this sense means that one is free to do as one will. That pornography, prostitution, drug use, as well as anything else that does not obviously inflict immediate, physical harm on another person is morally permissible for the reason that morality is subjective insofar as other people’s “liberty” is not infringed upon.

The problem with this definition of liberty, however, is that it is as utopian as the socialism of Marx and like socialism assumes that people will innately subject their personal wants for the greater good when push comes to shove, ergo preventing cataclysmic destruction of society. Of course, as my friend so ably observes in his commentary, the whole of history has shown that utopia has been sought for with disastrous every time it has been attempted. But while Mr. Dagget is certainly no utopian I believe he has fallen into a common error that many younger, conservative minded people find themselves in. That is, they assume that this meaning of liberty, to one extent or another was that which formed the very basis of government at the Founding of this country.

However, the Founders of our country knew no such description of liberty. They would have thought this view more akin to some insidious anarchy. As proof, let us remember that the liberties that our forefathers fought for were, to our complex, modern minds very simple. No taxation without representation, no soldiers being quartered in the homes of private civilians, no to the king replacing elected colonial leaders with his own royal governors. This was all put for in the Declaration of Independence. Later, under the ratified Constitution the founders did strangely little to change the government they had been under other than slightly lessen and divide its powers. Under England, we had a King, a Parliament (the House of Lords and the House of Commons), a law court and a Constitution. Our fledgling nation, in contrast (or lack thereof) had a President, a Congress (the Senate and the House of Representatives), the Supreme Court and a written Constitution. Many of the rights enshrined in our Bill of Rights were rights that the colonists had enjoyed anyways under King George, so long as they remained in his good graces. So what liberties were they really fighting for? The answer is in once sense simple, in another difficult and not easy to condense (as most very true things are). What the founders fought for was what we might call “ordered liberty.” That is, a society where certain freedoms which they believed were from God Himself, and evident in nature should be protected under law; all else in society, as it had been before the Revolution, aught to be directed by a person’s faith and church, his family, his schooling etc. This was not a liberty defined by a subjective moral ambiguity. It was defined by a society of people which was firmly held intact by their associations, institutions, religions, virtues and families. Take for instance this quote by President John Adams:

“Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the governance of any other”

Far from a “libertocracy” (where anything goes) or a theocracy (which Mr. Daggett asserts is what modern Christian conservatives view America is rightly) the founders believed their government could only work and function under a regime that depended upon the personal uprightness of the citizen before God (by which most of them meant the God of Christianity) and community. Our government did not, as Mr. Daggett correctly points out, have as its core purpose the glorification of the Lord of Hosts but the founders. But our founders definitely recognized that for this constitutional republic to even function as it should required a personal dedication to glorifying God and practicing virtuous living on the part of every individual. This is not cannibalizing Christianity, it is the realization of the centrality of faith and virtue (which the founders almost universally attributed to the Christian faith) in the functioning of a truly just and upright civil society that recognizes the intrinsic value of every human and that recognizes a man’s natural sovereignty over himself before God.

Modern cries of “liberty” for homosexuals to marry or adopt children, and calls for legalization of prostitution and the like are just that; modern. These belong not to the War of Independence, and the founder’s fight for freedom, but to the creeds of the secular humanists (who are very different from the Christian humanism the founders espoused) and to the progressives who deny Natural Law, Christianity as a solid foundation for the individual, and therefore the country, and ordered liberty under the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Since the turn of the twentieth century, and increasingly since the Sexual Revolution of the sixties, these progressives and secularists have promoted erroneous pluralism, which divides the nation into camps instead of uniting it in ordered liberty. They also promulgate the insidious lie that if the Constitution does not bar a certain behavior or mention it by name, that it must either allow it, or outright require it. Federalism and state laws aside, the only thing that is constitutional about gay marriage or other thing mentioned in this article, in the sense that the Constitution, in both its letter and its spirit (spirit: being what the founders and writers of the subsequent amendments meant the letter to mean), would be the right to discuss it in the press and the public square. No other right can be inferred from the text with integrity, except, perhaps, the Tenth Amendment which leaves a good deal of power to the state governments. But there again, a truly stable rule of law must be based on original intent, not on the moral whims of the day accepting the purposeful occasion of an ammendment; and the states must apply this principle to their own constitutions as well.

I would therefore conclude by saying that Mr. Daggett, my friend, is not wrong in his assertion that the progressive/libertarian “liberty” leads, inevitably to the kind of moral debauchery that we see today. But he is wrong to say that this sort of mechanic was the philosophical basis for our government, and that we should not resist the claims of rights for those people who claim rights they never had under law. He is also right that, in the realm of history, all civilizations ultimately fail. However, America, does not, and never did lean on the goodness of man as its core. Our founders knew that God must make man good for man to be free. And that is a very encouraging thought. Perhaps America will never be what it was. But, being the perpetual optimist that I am, this shows us that the cure is not politicians, or policy, but invariably a return to history and Christ in our nation. Not to create a theocracy but to preserve a beautiful gift that our forefathers, acting on their knowledge of history, God and Christianity, left for us. Namely: liberty.

SPECIAL ALL COMMENTARY ISSUE! IRON RANGE DIGEST: JUNE 11, 2013

AP DEMOLISHES OBAMA IN SCATHING OPINION PIECE
Coming around?
Source: ijreview.com

ANDREW MCCARTHY: PHONE RECORD GATHERING STORY BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION
Food for thought
Source: nationalreview.com

RAND PAUL: NSA’s VERIZON SURVEILLANCE: HOW THE WHITE HOUSE TRAMPLES OUR CONSTITUTION
Counterpoint
Source: guardian.co.uk

MICHAEL C. MUNGER: RECYCLING: CAN IT BE WRONG WHEN IT FEELS SO RIGHT.
Conscientiousness?
Source: ca-unbound.org

KATRINA TRINKO: GOP: LOSING YOUTH?
Hope to change?
Source: nationalreview.com

MN REP GLEN GUENHAGEN: GAY MARRIAGE
Religious protections?
Source: brainerddspatch.com

FIRST EVER READER COMMENTARY!

TIM DAGGET: IS AMERICA FALLING FROM ITS FOUNDATIONS, OR INTO THEM?

​Many of my conservative friends are unhappy because they see where America’s values are headed. They see the increasing acceptance of gay marriage and heterosexual cohabitation, the national apathy toward abortion, and the way Christians are portrayed in the media and think, “This country has fallen so far.” It is true that the United States was founded on some Christian values: justice for all people, peace, and liberty. Liberty especially is an excellent thing, the primary thing for which Christ died on the cross. But what has humanity always done with liberty? See Genesis chapter three for further details.

​ It should be apparent to anyone who has ever worked with children or logic that liberty is a double-edged blade. On the one side, a man with freedom of thought, speech, and the press can exchange ideas and expand his mind. Perhaps that man invents something ground-breaking, writes intriguing new music, or learns about incredible human brain. On the other side, nothing stops that man from filming pornography on a grand new scale and distributing it to the masses. This is the trade-off we make with freedom: greater result from good, but greater injury from evil.

​ So why are we surprised that one of our favorite liberties, freedom of religion, has backfired? Obviously the Founding Fathers knew that their Constitution allowed Buddhists as well as Baptists… right? Everybody’s beliefs are allowed here, no exceptions (so long as they do not infringe upon the freedoms of others—serial killers, for example). Islamic communities flourish all over the Twin Cities; we have the largest number of witches in the entire nation; and the church plant I attend is about to plant yet another evangelical church. All religions are equal.
​Here is the issue that nobody, not my friends (who are way, way smarter than me), not my father the pastor, not even my history professors, seem to understand: America was not founded on God. We are not a theocracy. It is not the goal of our government to see God glorified. Rather, America was founded to be a safe place for everyone, from pantheists to atheists, to live their lives in pursuit of happiness. They founded it on God’s principles. Many of them were indeed Christians. But the central governing philosophy of America is humanism, not a submission to and love for the Word and Will of God.

​ Therefore, it all falls apart. Why would it do anything else? People, we are fallen. Because of what Adam and Eve did in the Garden we have a sin nature. That means that we will eventually fail every time we try to do something that is good in God’s eyes. Selfishness will corrupt it, until the freedom fighter becomes the dictator, the lover either slave or captor. The only way to do good is to walk in the Holy Spirit, having faith in the hope of this world’s renewal at Christ’s coming. C.S. Lewis says it beautifully:
​“That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended—civilisations are built up—excellent ​institutions devised; but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the ​selfish and cruel people to the top and it all slides back into misery and ruin. In fact, the ​machine conks. It seems to start up all right and runs a few yards, and then it breaks down. ​They are trying to run in on the wrong juice. That is what Satan has done to us humans.”</em>

So there is our problem. America is trying to run a nation on principles cannibalized from God but founded on fallen humanity. We cannot take God out of the equation entirely; the basic principles of the value of human life, hard work, charity, etc. come from Him. But neither can we decide to govern wholly based on a relationship with Him, for no nation can follow him wholeheartedly.

Does anyone see a solution to this? I am sure that anyone who read to the end of this is now either angry enough or was already smart enough to come up with something better than I can. I am a fool, well-experienced in idiocy, and I welcome your input.
In conclusion, unless we find a way to resolve this tension one way or another, please stop acting as if this nation’s people ought to behave like Christians. It is perfectly constitutional to require people to not kill their neighbors, pay taxes for the defense and upkeep of their nation and refrain from selling potentially lethal drugs (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness). It is not constitutional to tell them who to marry.

Addendum: some intensely intelligent person (and I mean that) is going to point out the gaping hole in my argument, so I will save that person the trouble. See, the reason we prosecute the sale of certain substances is primarily to protect our children. If I believe that it is harmful for a child to grow up in a home with two mothers or two fathers, would I not vote against that? Answer: I still do not know. Let’s talk.


If you have a response to this article or would like to share a thought of your own, please send Iron Range Digest a message on our FACEBOOK page. Remember that the views in the commentries do not necessarily reflect those of this site.

Jacob Giese
Editor-in-Chief

IRON RANGE DIGEST: JUNE 5, 2013

HEADLINES

U.N. AMBASSADOR SUSAN RICE TO BECOME NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR
Too soon?
Source: startribune.com

MN SECRETARY OF STATE MARK RITCHIE WILL NOT SEEK NEW TERM
GOP pickup?
Source: duluthnewstribune.com

HEALTHCARE UNCERTAINTY WORRIES SOME DULUTH SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
Hopefully they aren’t the only ones.
Source: duluthnewstribune.com

DEMOCRATIC REP BASICALLY SAYS TEA PARTIES ASKED TO BE TARGETED BY THE IRS BECAUSE OF THEIR BELIEFS
Think we’ll ever see him targeted? Probably not.
Source: ijreview.com

U.S. HOUSE GOP LEADER ERIC CANTOR ANNOUNCES PROJECT TO HELP WITH GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY
Interesting concept…
Source: ijreview.com

COMMENTARY

KATHERINE KERSTEN: MINNESOTA PLAYS PRETEND WITH MARRIAGE
“The Right Side of History surely can’t be found on the Wrong Side of Reality.” -Katherine Kersten-
Source: startribune.com

VARIETY

MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ARTS RECEIVES JAPANESE ART COLLECTION WORTH 25 MILLION
Gotta get down there to see it!
Source: startribune.com

FIRST PHOTOS OF NEW “LIGHTWEIGHT PLANET”. NOT THAT FAR FROM EARTH
Neighbors
Source: astrobob.areavoices.com

IRON RANGE DIGEST: MAY 29, 2013

HEADLINES

MICHELE BACHMANN WILL NOT SEEK REELECTION IN 2014
End of an era. But are there bigger things on the horizon?
Source: duluthnewstribune.com

CHINA: PREGNANT MOTHER OF SIX MONTHS DIES AFTER FORCED ABORTION
See editorial for comments.
Source: lifenews.com

IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: IRS OFFICIALS SIGNED LETTERS OF INQUIRY ABOUT CONSERVATIVE GROUPS
Not just a grunt operation apparently…
Source: weeklystandard.com

SEN JOHN MCCAIN MEETS WITH SYRIAN REBELS
Americans are tired of endless overt war in countries that don’t even like us. Is this really a good move?
Source: thehill.com

IS LOW MEMBERSHIP DRIVING MN UNIONS TO DESPERATE MEASURES?
When your back is against a wall…
Source: startribune.com

MN WAREHOUSING FIRMS ANGRY OVER NEW TAXES
But taxes always help the economy…right?
Source: startribune.com

COMMENTARY

DAVID OLSON: MINNESOTA: SO MUCH TAXING, SO LITTLE REFORM. WHY?
It could probably be summed up in three little letters…
Source: twincities.com

ERICK ERICKSON: GO BIG OR GO HOME
Populism, not technocracy is key to GOP future.
Souce: redstate.com

EDITORIAL

It has become increasingly clear to this news site that America cannot continue to trade with China and retain the moral high ground of freedom that we espouse. China is the poster child for Orwellian government with its forced abortions/one child policy, religious suppression, citizens being payed to spy on other citizens, crony capitalism of the highest (or, perhaps, lowest) order, currency manipulation, not to mention frequent flirtations with America’s enemies. It is therefore the opinion of Iron Range Digest’s editorial board (me) that the U.S. must cease its current relations with China and adopt a tougher, more critical stance as we have with other governments who suppress freedom. This is an issue of both principle and economic well being for the future of our nation.

IRON RANGE DIGEST: MAY 28, 2012

HEADLINES

UNIONS TURNING AGAINST OBAMACARE
An Iron Range GOPer’s dream issue?
Source: ijreview.com

A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THE 2013 MN LEGISLATIVE SESSION
In a nutshell: More taxes, bureaucracy, and spending…also gay marriage…hurray?
Source: capitolchat.areavoices.com

SCHOOLS STRUGGLING WITH CHILDREN AND GENDER IDENTITY
At what point do we step in and say enough?
Source: twincities.com

DNR WANTS TO LIMIT YOUR LAKESHORE PROPERTY RIGHTS FURTHER
Source: twincities.com

MN GAS PRICES START TO FALL AFTER ALL TIME HIGH
Is it that much of an improvement? Could we be doing more?
Source: duluthnewstribune.com

IL SEN DICK DURBIN NOT SURE IF BLOGGERS PROTECTED BY FIRST AMENDMENT
Do we need to spell it out for you?
Source: ijreview.com

COMMENTARY

FMR SENATE CANDIDATE PETE HEGSETH: SECURING ISRAEL TODAY
Source: nationalreview.com

BURT ADAMS: KEYNESIAN ECONOMICS RIP
“Tomorrow we’re dead.”
Source: mygovcost.org

QUOTE DRAKE: AWESOME MEANDERINGS AND DEEP THOUGHTS FROM GEORGIA’S DRAKE DUNAWAY

If indeed gay marriage is on the way, the West will shift closer to a valueless society. For centuries since a Rabbi from the Galilee sent his message across the world, ethical monotheists have always assumed a world in which we are collectivists spiritually and individualists practically–a two-tiered bargain. The truth and merit of that has always been self-evident, but to a budding generation it is not evident at all, as they don’t even recognize the “higher plane” and disregard history.

For the monotheists of yore, they were not in a moral majority as in traditional America. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Lot, and so on. In the bigger picture, monotheism is returning to the primal world it once inhabited as a minority and a rarity. It is incumbent on us all to raise children with solid values and standards, and to love and reach out to those across the divide.

Such a hellenist society will not survive for very long, as such societies become socially flimsy, produce few children, and begin to decline. Islam will consume it and destroy it in the way they are in Europe. Four kings attacked Sodom, and a rare monotheist named Abraham saved the day. Therefore it is your duty to love those on the other side of the fence all the same.

We’re returning to the world that was.

Retrospectively, there are gaping fissures in current marriage. What a theater it has become within heterosexuality! Kim Kardashian profanes the name of G-d when she marries and divorces a week after. Commercialism has turned it from a covenant to a splurging event. DeBeers invents the 20th century phenomenon of the wedding ring, raising a false expectation of dumping a down payment on a house for a vain rock with no resale value. We furthered the “no fault divorce,” we became a consumer society that threw objects and toys away, and then finally people. If one cheats on one’s wife or womanizes, one is just as queer before the throne. If one divorces without cause, one is just as queer before the throne. I don’t think the Worldmaker cares if your failing was “macho” or not.

But what I see of the gay believers is this; they cannot do 613 commandments (technically, none of us can as we cannot be Levi, women, men, and farmers at the same time), BUT, I do think they can still aim for the other 612. There cannot always be agreement, but there can be respect and collaboration to the extent theology and mercy allows. G-d searches for us, we will search for others. I cannot attend a gay wedding, but I can still discuss ethical principles and work with them to repair the world and further the eternal truths we do agree on. G-d saves humanity without undermining his theodicy; we can reach humanity without sacrificing our righteousness.

In this world, we are all cohabiters.
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